Former Nigeria’s Vice President during President Olusegun Obasanjo and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate in next month’s presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has called on Nigerians to “peacefully” rise in defence of democracy. He made the call in a “state of the nation” address released on Monday, following the removal of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Walter Onnoghen. He was ‘illegally’ removed by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday.
Buhari said he removed the CJN on the orders of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), where Mr Onnoghen is facing charges of alleged false asset declaration. The “suspension” of Mr Onnoghen and the appointment of an acting CJN has been widely condemned including the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the European Union as it is deemed unconstitutional.
But at a news conference at the Yar’adua Centre, Abuja, the PDP candidate said “the primary responsibility to resist tyranny and protect democracy in Nigeria ultimately lies with Nigerians. How we react to this challenge in the following days will determine the fate of our democracy, which has been brought to great peril by this needless crisis engineered by a government. Like all men of good conscience and patriots, I believe this present challenge has imposed on us yet again, the duty to rise in peaceful defense of democracy, for which so many have laid down their lives. It is on this note that I call on all Nigerians to seize the opportunity of the coming general elections to vote in defense of democracy and the rule of law.” Atiku said.